The Easiest, Creamiest, Potatoes Au Gratin {Instant Pot Recipe}

 
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I’m going to share a deep, dark secret with you today, and your life may never be the same...

You can have Potatoes Au Gratin without slicing all those potatoes into perfectly uniform 1/4” slices.  

Yup. Just cube ‘em up, still delicious, still cheesy. You know what else? You can make them in the Instant Pot.

This is my favorite Potluck recipe because it feeds a crowd, and I’m starting to stockpile food because all this rain is starting to feel kind of Biblical. I’m afraid you’re going to be getting a lot of these recipes because it just.wont.stop.raining. 40 days and 40 nights is just about right!  We are just shy of 50” for the season, which is nearly 16” more than normal. I think I’ve slogged through that 16” a hundred times just this morning. 

While this will serve 8-10 as a main dish, and 16+ as a side, it is so easy to cut it in half and still have some for the freezer and man, many leftovers. In weather like this, 40’s and pouring cold rain, abundant leftovers are my saving grace. All I want to do is eat, after I change my muddy clothes for the 6th time, and take my 3-4th shower every day. Buy a farm they said, get horses they said, get chickens and ducks they said, it’ll be fun they said! 

Oh yeah, it’s a riot...my sarcasm is dripping about as hard as the rain ha!

Getting back to food, I tried a new company for meat that I want to share with you. While nearly all my meat it purchased locally at Engelbert Farm in Nichols, NY and other small local farms in the area, I try to find other sources as a backup, or to send as gifts and care packages, and to recommend to you my readers, whom may not have ready access to clean and sustainable meat. It’s important to me that my food dollars are spent directly with the people and farms that raised and produced what I am buying. The passion they feel for their craft is evident, and it is reflected in the final product. Is it always organic? No. While organic farming methods are important to me, as a small farm owner myself I understand how cost and labor intensive obtaining and maintaining certification can be. This where that personal connection becomes so valuable. Knowing the people behind the food, and their practices is as important as the food itself at times. 

I recently shared Butcher Box with you, and while I do like their products and service, I do wish that there was more transparency for the consumer. We have to more or less take their word that what they say is what you get. The quality has been great, so I have let that negative slide. It may or many not be as important to you as it is to me, and that’s absolutely fine. In fact, for the majority of us everything they offer is an excellent value for a high quality product that is accessible to consumers in every state. 

For this recipe I was craving ham to have with it, but I didn’t have any in the freezer. It can be meatless, but I wanted it to be more substantial. I had recently received an order from Grass Roots Co-Op, which is based in Arkansas. I like what I read and saw on their website so I decided to give them a shot, and I’m glad I did. I used 1lb of their polish sausage and was absolutely perfect!

Grass Roots Co-Op checks that missing box that Butcher Box does not, a personal connection to the farms and the people who dedicate their lives to producing the food I will consume. They also use Block Chain technology which is available to you so that you can see every step animal has traveled from its growth to its harvest and delivery to you. The farm name and processor is listed on each package as well as dates of packaging.  

 
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For me, this extra level of connection, comparable pricing, and more flexibility is a swing vote in favor of Grass Roots Co-Op. Ready to get cooking? Here we go...

Easy Potatoes Au Gratin

Yield: 12-16

Easy Potatoes Au Gratin for the Instant Pot

prep time: 10 minscook time: 45 minstotal time: 55 mins

Easy, cheesy, creamy and comforting, this Potatoes Au Gratin is an affordable way to feed a crowd with farm to table fresh ingredients

ingredients:

5 lbs potatoes cut into chunks

1 pound polish sausage or kielbasa 

8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese 

2 ounces Gouda

1 large sweet onion

4-6 cloves of garlic

2 cups stock

2 cups half and half

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Salt and pepper

instructions:

Cube potatoes, dice onion and mince garlic, and add thyme to Instant Pot. Place sausage or kielbasa on top of the potatoes.

Pour broth over and set for 12 minutes at high pressure. 

At the end of the cook cycle. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Do a quick release on the Instant Pot and using a slotted spoon, remove sausage or kielbasa and dice after letting it cool a bit. Gently remove potatoes, onions and garlic to a large casserole(s). I use well greased a 12” and a 10” cast iron skillet. Add sausage to each.

Pour leftover stock into a measuring cup. You should have 2 cups. If not adjust the half and half to equal 4 cups liquid total. 

Rinse the Instant Pot and set to sauté, after it heats for a minute or two add the butter. When melted, add flour and whisk to combine. Allow to cook for a few minutes while whisking.

Slowly add the 2 cups of half and half, whisking as you add it.

Now slowly add the reserved stock from Instant Pot, slowly whisking it in.

Add half the cheeses to the sauce and stir until combined and melted. Pour the sauce evenly over the potatoes. Top with remaining cheeses

Bake for 35 minutes until set and the cheese is browned and bubbly.

NOTES:

In this recipe I used Carola potatoes from Engelbert Farm, as well as their sweet onions and outstanding raw extra sharp Cheddar and Gouda. The garlic, herbs, and stock were my own. The polish sausage was from Grass Roots Co-Op as discussed above. 

Carola potatoes are a firm fleshed waxier potato that holds up so well to the Instant Pot, they hold their shape, texture and flavor so well.  

You could substitute a good local kielbasa for the polish sausage. Whatever you choose, be sure to select something that has a deep flavor and some fat as it will flavor the stock that remains.  

The cooking liquids that remain when using the Instant Pot are one it’s great benefits. Instead of boiling potatoes and draining away all cooking water, you’re left with a starchy, fatted and fully flavored liquid that will enhance your sauce.